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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so a few days ago we recieved a Juvenile Waterdragon from someone from the forum (i won't mention names but if previous owner wants to talk in this thread im sure they will come forward :))

The owner had done a HELL of a lot and put up with a HELL of a lot of worry with this littlun.

The waterdragon does not feed on it's own, i am unsure as of yet whether it drinks on it's own, but assist feeding and soon assist drinking is going ok.
He opens his mouth when HE wants to (unsexed but we call it a he) but we are doing well with the feeding.

My main concern is his playing dead. Which was a HUGE concern for his previous owner too who had tried tonnes to get him happy. When he hears you coming, he "dies". and it's VERY convincing, he closes his eyes, or sometimes just shuts down and is motionless on the floor. Sometimes legs up in the air, and if you didn't know he was feigning, you would probably burst into tears every time you saw his little show.

Since he's been here we have upped the temps, given him a huge hiding area, and handle him as little as poss. (only for feeding). He hides all of the time and rarely moves, sometimes just moving to sit on the top of the hide.

We have put him in a smaller viv in hope the enclosedness makes him feel more safe which has helped him move around a little more, but he is still, "dieing" everytime someone enters the room.

Is there anything anyone thinks we haven't tried? Would be really interested to know if people know more about "feign deaths" as he seems ok, but his quality of life from being under his hide constantly or "dieing". isn't very good.

I would put it down to stress, but stress at what, i don't know.
We are happy to keep assist feeding him but i've posted this here to see if anyone has any ideas on how to help the little guy out, or any ideas for us to try that we haven't already. I had thought a little company might help him overcome his fears.. but at present i don't know how that would go down.

Any response is glady appreciated.
Thanks in advance

Caroline x
 

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very strange that like,

mine have played dead before an yes your right it can be quite convincing at times and does scare you to start off with! imagine coming home to find your WD underwatert limbs spread not breathing! (thats hat my male WD does!).

playing dead is a defence mechanism, hes obvioulsy still not comfortable around people 100% yet,

how long have you had him and how long did the previous owner have him?? does he only do this when someone else enters the room, aprt form then is he still basking/bathing/climbing around on his own?

persoannly if i want to get a lizard tame as possible i would make an effort to handle him as much as possible, he may seem stressed to start but after a week or so he will soon relaise that you are not a threat and infact a source of food,

its funny mine are like dogs, soon as you take the front of the viv off and get there red cup out then they all jump down and form a circle on the floor waiting to be fed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
well i've had him since sunday morning
and i believe previous owner had him for 7 months
il try upping handling then
my aim wasn't to get him tame but to be comfortable,
i think it probably is people as he does seem more active when we're not in there
and he quickly scarpers or stops what he's doing when i go in to have a look

i don't want to stress him out too much
but will up handling as i guess the only way to get him used to human contact and human eyes (!) is to hold him more.

i don't think internally anything is wrong, i believe it's all very pshycological.
he doesn't eat on his own but eats assisted and opens his mouth when you touch his nose with food items. he chews and swallows ok (but does get it all round his mouth!)

i have left a few worms and crickets in the tank overnight to see if he takes any and hasn't as of yet but will keep doing that and then if he hasn't eaten them, will use them to assist feed the next feed session.

just a bit sad really, he's a very very shy, stressed out little fella, and would love to make his quality of life better.
 

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Its a shame you cant monitor his activity while your out of the room to see how active he is when he's alone. Then at least you'd know he's doing normal WD things when there are no humans around.
 

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yeh he does sound like he has abit of a nervous disposition! lol

i wouldnt worry about him too much, unfortunatley if thats all hes ever known - hand feeding (not your fault at all) it may be diffucult to get him to eat on his own, i think obviously the first step would be to get him to be more confident with you.

id just recommend spending as much time with him as possible, even if its not handling him your just stood outside the viv watching him.. the more human interaction the better for him and he will eventually get used to you and his surroundings, dont forget youve only had him since sunday and it usually takes a week or so for them to settle in.

just remember although you may be abe to get him reletivly, i dont think he will ever be beardie tame, they are renound for being scatty.

my 3 are what i would say probably as tame as youd get them, they dont have a huff when you get them out, will sit on you/hand feed etc and wont be fighting to get away from you, never been bitten or tail whipped.

persistance is the key, you obviouly sound like you car alot about the little guy so just stick it out and im sure he will come round.

feel free to PM if you have any questions about CWD's etc.

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks so much scott
love the video cam idea so will try that
haven't really got him out much at all as of yet
as was letting him settle in
only got him out once a day for feeds
where he usually takes about 4 live food items and then has a grump and tells me he's full :p

but perhaps after this weekend il start getting him out more
i don't work due to health problems so time isn't an issue

thanks for all of the help
xxx
 

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good luck with him :2thumb:
 

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hello you could also try this ... get chair or sit on the bed next to his viv whilehis in their and stay their for about 10 minutes then he might think no one is there this might work ...also stop handfeeding my leopard gecko stopped eating as i hand fed him wen he was a baby so i stopped hand-feeding him for about 3 weeks then he ate ....also put some mealworms in a dish like 5 a day then wen you check on him check how manys left this is just afew suggestions so it might not 100% work but good luck anyway ..

'' keep us all updated ''
 

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WD

I don't advise to up the handling!! This little one sounds very stressed - I advise covering the tank over - to give him a feeling of TOTAL security. and only removing part of the cover to change the water and feed.

Once he gains a little confidence then leave part of the cover off.
Put the food bowl near the exposed area to get him used to it. I know you said there is a large hide area - is there a large water bowl (aproprate to his size) that he can submerge himself in?

Did the previous owner have other animals? cats, dogs, etc??

I know how scary a WD playing dead is! When I first got my Femael WD home she scared the crap outta me. My male had never done it, and I wasn't expecting it!

I hope this little guy is ok.
Just out of interest what's his diet consist of at the mo?

TD.x.
 

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I don't advise to up the handling!! This little one sounds very stressed - I advise covering the tank over - to give him a feeling of TOTAL security. and only removing part of the cover to change the water and feed.

Once he gains a little confidence then leave part of the cover off.
Put the food bowl near the exposed area to get him used to it. I know you said there is a large hide area - is there a large water bowl (aproprate to his size) that he can submerge himself in?

Did the previous owner have other animals? cats, dogs, etc??

I know how scary a WD playing dead is! When I first got my Femael WD home she scared the crap outta me. My male had never done it, and I wasn't expecting it!

I hope this little guy is ok.
Just out of interest what's his diet consist of at the mo?

TD.x.
IMO he was with his previous for 7 months and has still not improved i think he needs to be handled More and more to get used to them, i think covering the viv and leaving him alone more will have the oppostie effect, how is he gonna get better if he sees humans as a threat. people tend to shy away from handling lizards if they are abit scatty or scared IMO you need to show them whos boss, that your a source of food and aint gonna hurt them.

im no expert, just a keeper and breeder and thats what id do.
 

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I don't advise to up the handling!! This little one sounds very stressed - I advise covering the tank over - to give him a feeling of TOTAL security. and only removing part of the cover to change the water and feed.

Once he gains a little confidence then leave part of the cover off.
Put the food bowl near the exposed area to get him used to it. I know you said there is a large hide area - is there a large water bowl (aproprate to his size) that he can submerge himself in?

Did the previous owner have other animals? cats, dogs, etc??

I know how scary a WD playing dead is! When I first got my Femael WD home she scared the crap outta me. My male had never done it, and I wasn't expecting it!

I hope this little guy is ok.
Just out of interest what's his diet consist of at the mo?

TD.x.
IMO he was with his previous for 7 months and has still not improved i think he needs to be handled More and more to get used to them, i think covering the viv and leaving him alone more will have the oppostie effect, how is he gonna get better if he sees humans as a threat. people tend to shy away from handling lizards if they are abit scatty or scared IMO you need to show them whos boss, that your a source of food and aint gonna hurt them.

im no expert, just a keeper and breeder and thats what id do.
I agree with TD :)

You do need to show that you are not a threat BUT this should be as slowly and calmly as possible. If you have to grab it and catch it all it will see is a bringer of stress and fear.

I would also cover the viv partially. Sit next to it, with the door open and calmly talk to it. Even if it runs and hides, just carry on talking. Change its food and water daily, but just keep talking, do everything slowly and smoothly. Its confidence does not need to be harmed more by a big hand chasing it round the viv or forcing it to be held etc.

If its confidence does get better, then slowly introduce your hand into the viv, not to hold the lizard but just to be in there and show its not a threat, hold some food etc. Dont offer it just hold it. Try a little everyday. Percevere and see if it will slowly come around :)
 

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ok why has noone suggested a vets.. ( i appologise instantly if he has already seen vets)

if this has gone on for seven months there could be something internal going on..
sorry but sometimes it would be nice to think we can KNOW whats wrong but we cant always.. wed all love to be dr dolittles and cure and fix rescues but thats not always possible... ive rescued over 15 different animals and nearly every single one has come to me with problems..


assist feeding a lizard can cause severe stress and i appreciate sometimes it has to be done to keep it alive... but its a complete last resort and the second this starts to happen a vet needs to check why it wont feed on its own.. reptiles often astop eating to die... they know they are ill and dont want to prolong their own suffering its part of nature and how reps work..


the dragon needs immediately... critical care formula... probably oral calcium and a vets to work out whats wrong.. it could be internal organs.. it could need x -rays


Ive spent opver 1500 quid oat vets in last 18 months alone... rescues can be time consuming and costly..


our most recent one STAR the water dragon was admitted for 10 days on a drip.. she was given critical care and vitamins and oral calcium..

also other various bits and bobs were done.. and she had anti biotics too as there was a sign of infection in her blood.. all in all the vet bilsl cost £250 .. sounds a lot yeah??? but without those checks and help we may also have thought she would be fine and was just not eating and a bit shy..

these are things noone can check out at home

parasites can also wear a reptile down... make them sluggish and want tio hide a lot.. so a fecal samples important too..

to say I believe its psychological really means.. I think it is but i dont know.. and i know u mean well and care about this new addition but without getting it professionally checked each day that goes by could be another where the dragon is going downhill...


all those signs lead to at least a minimum of a check over.. it shouldnt cost more than £35 maximum and might save the little one in the long run..


reptiles dont usually show signs of ilness til its quite far on... they arent like mamalls that way.. which means by the time they are showing signs thats only the tip of the iceberg...

whats underneath it al could have been there quuite a while

I have rescued two water dragons now..

one that did not need vet checked ( the reson it was a rescue was the cramped conditions it was living in and lack of attention from the owner) and the second one STAR i wouldnt have played around thinking i knew for love nor money.. she was lethargic.. hid lots and wouldnt eat well...

if in doubt get it checked... my friend also recently purchased a water dragon and she wasnt eating very well.. and was very lethargic and hid... it turned out she needed a lot of vet checks.. i wish for the life of me i could remember what was wrong with Misha my pals water dragon.. i wil ask her later when shes home from work...

but misha was large and looked normal... but what was wrong with her was quite bad.... wil try to find out what it was but in meantime if u can get a vet app to check the little dragon over.. better safe than sorry.. :blush:


Good luck and i hope everything goes ok

xxxx
 

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juvi lizards do tend to be more flighty than adults and need secruity so i think the covering up is a great idea as more handling more is going to cause the poor guy more stress and may kill him/her....... but with it not eating for such a long time and having to be fed i would suggest a vet trip just to make sure there is nothing going on internal what is suppressing its appetite as its very rare for a lizard not to want to eat! it could be something simple or could be something major but i would deff get it checked out. playing dead may be because there is something wrong and its poorly

hope the lil un calms down and your able to get him sorted out
Clare
 

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Its a shame you cant monitor his activity while your out of the room to see how active he is when he's alone. Then at least you'd know he's doing normal WD things when there are no humans around.

the point is less about his physical movem,ent and more the extreme worry of the eatnig problem.. the stress of being assist fed is enough to make him scared and aat the moment he will associate handling with assist feeding.. soo extra handling isnt a good idea.. desensitsation is something ive often usd.. a quuiet room.. with a thick dark blanket over the viv.. lights on and off as normal.... and trhen slowly use thinner blankets so he can see you move til its basically thin cotton.. that really helps them feel safe... not extra handling.. keep that to a minimum

i totally agree with bosshog..

any lizard that needs assist feeding needs a vet check.. reps can have anything from tumours to parasites and heart problems.. we often forget that.. they can also go extremely downhillin a matter of days without ctaching a problem... ive seen peopel on the forum before put off a vet check and regret it.. id hate for that to happen here.. so im sorry if im going n a bit but i want your wee water dragon to pull through :)


please update us and let us know what u decide to do....
 

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wd

Agreed regarding the vet trip. It will be additional stress, but if there is a physical cause for the problem then the cause needs to be addressed or any of our methods will not work.

TD.x.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
oki doke guys
was planning on taking him vets anyway for a stool sample and xrays because i know im no expert and i'd rather him be fully seen to than dieing because ive failed to get it looked at when i thought he was ok.

unable to get to a herp vets today as it's 3 hours away by bus and train
but can get to a domestic vets who know little about reps.

should i hold out and go to herp vets tomorrow
or shall i go today to normal vets and ask them to do xrays and parasite checks?

im sure they can do that

thanks for all advice guys

amazed at the response
xxx
 

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vets

I say take him to the REP VET ASAP. If the regular vet can't do everything you need him to do, then you'll have to make 2 trips which will be twice the expence, twice the stress, .. plus you need to make sure you're getting the RIGHT adice and medication (if any is required)

Make an appointment with your Rep Vet ASAP - explain it's a juvi WD, not eating, lethargic, and plays dead... and that you're concerned...

Good luck, I hope it's something that's easily remedied :)
TD.x.
 
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